Three things doctors said echo in my head:
1) “Your arm was recently broken, and healed badly.”
2) “We’ll have to take out some organs, intestine, bowel, blood vessels, muscle, fat.”
3) “Of course you have acid reflux, half your stomach’s in your chest.”

Last year forgetting my old and feeble, I lifted a 5-gallon bucket of water and heard a sharp SNAP in my bicep, followed by some serious pay-attention-to-me pain.

E.R. doctor decided my mobility looked okay and I’d heal in six weeks. Five weeks later when muscle was near better, our large dog took off after a loose dog, jerking my arm sideways. Massive pain from which I assumed was reinjured torn muscle. So another 5 weeks waiting to heal when – whammo – dog did it again. Immense pain, again assumed muscle damage. Either the first or second or both dog lunges had broken my arm.

By this time I’ve been unable to use my left arm for 3 months. I assumed the doctor had been wrong and I had torn my bicep loose, so went to family doctor. He couldn’t understand how my bicep was going horizontal instead of vertical. He sent me to a specialist.

Week before specialist, we took Marlowe (our 127 pound 11 year old Golden Lab rescue) to a dog wash, where he pooped on the floor. I scurried down 2 steps to get a poo-bag when the non-skid rubber tip of my shoe mated with the non-slip rubber grip of the step and I flew full force 6 feet into a display case, demolishing it, breaking my arm, lacerating a kidney. Pain so intense I had stomach nausea and oozed cold sweat.

Three days in E.R. and hospital. CAT-scanning my arm, they noticed a small growth on my lung. After MRI-ing it, they decided lung lump wasn’t dangerous but said hey, what’s this thing peeking up behind your kidney?

Turned out to be 10″ tall sarcoma cancer, rare, aggressive, maybe my replacement birthed by inner anger… I named it Smith 2.0.

They screwed my arm together with metal plates, so now I’ve metal in one hip, both shoulders, 2 bolts in neck, 2 plates in arm. I set off metal detectors and give glorious glowing upper body X-Rays.

Couldn’t use my left arm for a year. Got 85% of it back, which seems as much as I’m going to get.

As they plotted my cancer removal, they decided to radiate before surgery because they need to remove everything the tumor touched, which is when they casually mentioned they’d take out a kidney, spleen, etc, and had to radiate to shrink the tumor before surgery because after surgery the body couldn’t handle radiation with one kidney.

The surgery doctor said I’m dangerously underweight since I’ve lost 40 pounds past two years (down to 135 from a comfortable 175), and she wanted to bulk me up. Explained that was difficult due to my stomach acid problems and she chirped “Of course you have acid reflux, half your stomach’s in your chest.” She thinks the cancer pushed one kidney out of its way and half my stomach into my chest.

Through all this a third doctor – Dr Chemo – was drooling to give me chemo as well. Told him not likely. He asked why. Replied quality of life. He hung his head, nodded yes, then explained this is a serious sneaky aggressive tumor and could have sent offshoots anywhere in my body, and if so, only chemo can kill it. Chemotherapy is basically making your body so sick and close to dying that the weaker cancer dies first. I know people who have done it and they say dying’s better. To see if it’d spread, they shot me full of radioactive juice and gave me a PET-scan and found no runners, which totally depressed Dr Chemo who kept saying perhaps we could work some chemo in down the line.

Finished four weeks so far of five of radiation, after which they’ll wait 2 months and gut me.

The list of possible side effects of abdomenal radiation is a horror movie, too much to ponder because I’ve no options. I survived 8 weeks voice box cancer radiation 18 years ago (cancer gone) and figure I’ll beat this as well, recover from surgery, get on with my outlier life with magic wife.

In the meantime, I’m thinking of changing script writers because they’re doing me dirty.

Although, bottom line, I’m lucky – if I hadn’t broken my arm the second time in 5 months, they wouldn’t have accidentally discovered the cancer.

“Go figure” Mr V wrote in one novel, and “So it goes” in another.

I seem to be of both.





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